Posted by: Sally Ingraham | October 5, 2013

Bridging the ‘burgh

I went on a job hunting mission yesterday, walking from Upper Lawrenceville to the Strip District – a small matter of 2.4 miles from point A to point B (on the map below that would be point D and point C…). However, I took a slight detour, crossing the Allegheny River via the 31st St Bridge and then back across over the 16th St Bridge – a rather large matter of about 7 miles in the end!

It was high time that I traversed a bridge or two, since these steel and concrete spans were one of the reasons that I moved to Pittsburgh (which, with 446 of the things, is aptly termed “The City of Bridges“…)

The 31st St. bridge - Oct. 4th 2013

The 31st St Bridge (which is kind of hard to get a sense of in this picture…) is an arch bridge which was completed in 1928, and renovated in 2006 – hence it’s fancy blue paint job! It jumps from Lower Lawrenceville, right over Herr’s Island, to the Troy Hill neighborhood. I believe it is the 10th bridge on the Allegheny River, which joins the Monongahela River to form the Ohio just about 3 miles downstream.

Allegheny River from 31st St. bridge - Oct. 4th 2013

The sky obviously dominated the view yesterday, but you can also make out the 16th St Bridge in the picture above, about a mile downstream from where I stood on the 31st St Bridge.

Allegheny River from Herr's Island - Oct. 4th 2013

Herr's Island Bridge - Oct. 4th 2013In the photo above I’m looking across the river to the Strip District and downtown, with Polish and Middle Hill behind. This was taken from the Herr’s Island Railroad Bridge (right), a tiny truss bridge that was built in 1890 (rebuilt in 1903) which the Three Rivers Heritage Trail now utilizes. I’d call this the 8th bridge on the river, even though it only crosses a back channel.

The last stop on this tour is one of the many yellow bridges in the downtown area – the David McCullough Bridge (16th St).

16th St Bridge (David McCullough Bridge) - Oct. 4th 201316th St Bridge (David McCullough Bridge) - Oct. 4th 2013

Built in 1922, it is a through arch bridge, and the 7th on the Allegheny River. It was just recently dedicated to David McCullough, a native Pulitzer Prize-winning author, historian, and narrator (his voice is heard in a handful of Ken Burns docs, as well as in the movie Seabiscuit).

16th St Bridge (David McCullough Bridge) - Oct. 4th 2013

Why is it painted yellow? Well, actually it’s “Aztec Gold“, according to this entertaining article from the Pittsburgh City Paper. The quick answer is that the city’s colors are black and gold, and a bushel of black bridges would be kind of brutal on the eyeballs – so, gold.

You can see the 31st St Bridge up river - Oct. 4th 2013

Heading towards a full circle, from here you can see the blue arches of the 31st St Bridge back up the river a mile. Having returned to my side of the river I wandered through the Strip District, busy with it’s usual weekend street market, popped into Marty’s Market to pin down an interview, and then tramped all the way back up Butler St, making it home before the rain that those spectacular clouds had been hinting at, hit.

Carnegie St., Oct. 2nd 2013
Carnegie St – mine for the time being

Unfortunately for you, perhaps, that’s 3 down and 443 bridges left to explore – cue cackle of delight from me!

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